When Theresa May spoke, in the week she became Prime Minister, of being “at the service of ordinary, working people” and of thinking of those people who can only just manage, she took aim at exactly the right target. In Britain, and all over the Western world, huge numbers of people feel the system no longer works for them: that immigration is no benefit to them; that globalised trade and corporations removes their control over their lives; that the quantitative easing of the central banks inflates the prices of assets other people already own. The anger of such people fuels much of the rise of the Trumps, the Wilders and the Le Pens. In its Left-wing form it has brought us Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, and last month it helped the Leave campaign to win a famous victory. Finding the answer to such rampant discontent should be the central concern of mainstream political leaders, in a race against time to find workable solutions before rampant populism overwhelms them. In speaking as she did on the steps of Downing Street, and in the speech she gave in Birmingham just before the dramatic collapse of the Tory leadership election, Theresa May fired the starting gun of that race, opening up a new effort to define how the centre-Right of politics can lay claim to inclusion, fairness, and control. The prize for success is enormous: across the world, parties of the Left have been unable to find the language or policies to deal with this disillusionment, leaving them vulnerable to the old-fashioned socialists now returning with such vigour. If Conservatives can produce the next wave of successful ideas, their political dominance for another generation will be assured. The urgency of this effort is impossible to overstate. Every one of the factors squeezing the unhappy middle-income household, or the young person who is worse off than their parents, is accelerating. Japan-style economic stagnation is spreading to other economies, particularly in Europe. The huge numbers around the world who aspire to move to richer nations is growing rapidly. Above all, the pace of technological change seems set to jump into a faster gear with the arrival of artificial intelligence – computers which learn as they go along, and have the potential to disrupt or make redundant the jobs, training and qualifications of hundreds of millions of people. One assessment is that we are on the brink of change happening at 10 times the speed and with 300 times the scope of the Industrial Revolution itself. More livelihoods are going to be upset, more professions transformed, more skills made obsolete and more new ones required than ever before in the history of the human race. From the car that drives itself to the robot that provides a company’s security and audits its accounts at the same time, new devices are going to present not just an important scientific event but a transformational political one too. The risk is that such a change will divide society further into those who master it and those who are at its mercy; that the disappearance of the steady, routine job will be a disaster for vast numbers of people, who consequently will be angrier still. The challenge set by our new Prime Minister is therefore even more urgent, more important, and even more difficult than it might seem. Whatever the answers may be, we can be sure they will not be found on the Left. This will be a century in which state ownership and direction will fall even further behind private initiative; regulation will be out of date before it can even be agreed; and penal taxation will impoverish any country foolish enough to try it. It might well be a good idea to have an “industrial strategy”, as the new Cabinet does, but not if it is going to be focused on picking businesses to support and spending too much time worrying about who owns what. That is where Britain went wrong in the 1960s. An industrial strategy for the next few decades would mean providing the research base, world-class infrastructure and skills in concentrated areas necessary to attract innovators and jobs that haven’t been invented yet. That could be supported by rolling out on a far bigger scale many of the ideas tried in small packets in recent years: generous tax reliefs for small businesses on research and development; Enterprise Zones; enterprise capital funds dedicated to backing new technologies; and much more on these lines – but absolutely not civil servants trying to plan the future of the economy. If we have spare public money as a result of balancing the budget less quickly, that should go into science, faster broadband and pilot projects to train and educate people in a new way. Learning a set of facts or skills to be used over a lifetime is becoming less useful than learning how to learn, re-learn, and adapt many times to changes in the nature of work. Giving people opportunity was an important theme of Theresa May’s Birmingham speech. The way to do that is liberate them to use their brains and free the businesses they work in from slow-moving rules and controls. There is a danger of opinion moving instead against the entrepreneur and the fast-moving company. When Philip Green exhibits the “unacceptable face of capitalism” it is not surprising that our minds turn to new controls. Yet there are many successful firms which treat their employees as partners, and ensure they share widely in success. Some big businesses do have to change their attitudes, and the idea of binding shareholder votes on executive pay is a good one, but the emphasis must be on making the UK the best possible home of the thrusting, innovating, risk-taking user of new technology and ideas. Leaving the EU makes it all the more vital that we chart a pro-enterprise future, as investors worry about sticking with Britain. Transparency and fair taxes from the big corporations are vital, but that shouldn’t stop us going for low taxes and great infrastructure for the businesses we need. If the discontented voters find, in the new industrial revolution, that they have strong firms around them, better jobs and the adaptive learning they need, they will be much happier. If they don’t, no amount of laws and regulations will ever pacify them.